This is not the first time we’ve heard the news that a Brazil judge has ordered the blocking of WhatsApp services in the country. In fact, it is the second time in just five months, but this time, the millions of people who use the app were denied access for a period of up to 72 hours.
The news came after a Brazil court ordered that all local telecommunications companies block any attempt to access the WhatsApp application following an ongoing case, however, there are no clear details regarding the nature of this case.
WhatsApp recently started rolling out end-to-end encryption to all of its communications. With this protocol, the company claims that not even experts in their offices can get close to the messages exchanged between two individuals using the encrypted application. The new ruling, which came in last week, now revives the issue of privacy and matters of national security. All five major carriers in the country were slammed with this directive, with those failing to comply possibly facing fines of up to $143,000.
The order was given last week Monday and went on for three days, but unlike previous cases where circumstances for blocking WhatsApp services were somehow explained, there is really nothing that can be said of the current situation. Back in December 2015, Brazilians were banned from accessing WhatsApp for a period of 48 hours and just this February, a Facebook official was put behind bars for failing to comply with a directive that requested for WhatsApp messages with respect to an investigation into a drug case.
This Facebook-owned chat app has more than 1 billion people that actively use it on a monthly basis. Out of this figure, Brazil alone accounts for at least 10%, which is a figure that puts the country’s entire user base at 100 million people. With the service not available in the country for three days, it is a huge loss of traffic for the chat app, but is it really a financial loss for Mark Zuckerberg? Well, WhatsApp has yet to be monetized and as of now, no revenue is being generated from the app. The only means that was making some money for the Zuck was the $1 fee charged after using the app for the first year, however, this fee was scrapped, meaning that the app is totally free of charge.
No comment has so far been made regarding the reasons as to why this service was blocked.